Shake, rattle and …

Information What: A singing and dancing tribute

– More than 50 local kids are shaking up the Gilroy High School
theater as they prepare for the debut of John Bisceglie’s

Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion

GILROY – More than 50 local kids are shaking up the Gilroy High School theater as they prepare for the debut of John Bisceglie’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion” tonight.

Smoke and bubble machines, 50 pounds of silver confetti along with hundreds of hologram diamonds are just a few of the special effects the public can expect to see.

“The show is really fun and upbeat,” Bisceglie said. “I love putting the shows together, and it’s a great way for kids to get involved and get to know people in their community.”

The actors who range in age from 5 to 18 have been rehearsing two days a week for the last three months as part of the city’s annual Summer Children’s Theater. But it hasn’t all been work.

“Kids have so much fun with John’s shows, because he allows each kid to have their chance in the spotlight so they can shine,” said Production Manager Judy McBrearty, who has helped with 25 of Bisceglie’s shows.

Bisceglie has been busy all week making last-minute changes so the ’50s and ’60s dancing and musical revue goes off without a hitch.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion” is set at “Melody High School” and pokes fun at the different stereotypes teenagers encounter in high school, from the jocks and the cheerleaders to the bad boys and the nerds.

“My favorite song is ‘Rockin’ Robin,’ and I get to sing it with a couple of the other girls,” 6-year-old Sidney Gonzalez said.

The Bisceglie shows are cast with many newcomers like Gonzalez, along with some who have acted in more than 18 of Bisceglie’s shows like Alan Hoshida, 15, and Sadie Brown, 16.

“I like working with all of the little kids, and John is the best,” said Brown, who plays one of the lead roles in “Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion.”

The Bisceglie shows are also known for their extravagant costumes, and this show is no different. One-thousand-seven-hundred yards of sequin trim cover the costumes, which feature bright-colored petticoats, specialty eyelashes, large wigs and hand-painted shoes.

“I like my costume, even though it is a little weird,” 15-year-old Jackie Moon said. Moon plays a “nerd” in the show and is decked out in a bright green costume, oversized glasses and a headband that looks like two big pompoms.

Bisceglie adds a comedic twist to his show in the form of the dreamy heartthrob football jock played by 7-year-old Noah Montgomere. Montgomere sweeps the girls off their feet in his costume equipped with shoulder pads that are almost as big as he is.

“Acting like the football player is so much fun, because I get to be big and strong. Oh, and I like that all the girls like me,” Montgomere said.

Backstage during dress rehearsal Wednesday night, the kids took a little break to make sure all of their costumes were set. But, they still had time to eat peanut butter sandwiches and laugh with their friends.

“I think, if anything, the show allows the children to develop some of their best friendships,” McBrearty said.

Bisceglie has been directing for more than 10 years and said he knew theater was his calling when he was cast in “Fiddler on the Roof” in high school.

“They thought I was funny, and I thought that was the greatest thing in the world,” Bisceglie said. “Doing all of these shows allows me to show kids a sense of belonging, and it feels good contributing to something good.”

Bisceglie may be bringing laughter to the community, but he said the show couldn’t have come together without the help of all the parents.

“The parents have helped with everything from building the set, gluing tons of glitter props, to spray painting the shoes and costume accessories,” he said.

Parents and actors have already sold 1,100 tickets. The public can still buy tickets for any of the 13 shows until Aug. 23.

“Everyone is dedicated to making it a success. It’s really great when you’re a week away and the kids have sold half of their tickets,” Bisceglie said.

As the actors prepare their vocal chords, pin their wigs and lace up their dancing shoes, Bisceglie reminds the cast to have big smiles because, “It takes everyone to make this show happen.”